I had my female dog neutered a couple of days ago. Since the first day, the skin on her belly has been looking red, I though that it was because of irritation. It has started to become more red and scabs have formed, plus the stitches have not been absorbed yet. It doesn't smell bad and she does not look sick. I mean, she is as playful as has always been.

Is there something else I should be checking to make sure the incision heals properly? I am worried because of the time the stitches have taken to be absorbed.

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2 Answers 2


She needs to see the vet
From the photo provided, that's not normal from desexing and she needs a follow up with the vet.

Scabs are a normal part of healing, though the scabs and redness in the photo are not normal (she needs to see a vet). No bad smell is a good sign, as is no pus like discharge.

For future reference always take her to the vet after surgery if she:

  • loses her spark
  • becomes dull or listless
  • runs a fever
  • has pus like discharge
  • swelling around the wound
  • her pain increases

If she is playful and alert that is another good sign. Although be mindful that she needs to take it easy for a while.

As for stitches.
It takes dissolvable stitches between a minimum 1-2 weeks to start dissolving or up to 4-6 months for them to completely go, depending on the type of stitches used. Ask the vet how long the stitches should take to dissolve.

  • The time to fully dissolve depends on the type of suture. For example, chromic gut usually dissolves within weeks, whereas PDO takes 4-6 months to completely dissolve, and there are others in between which might also have been used for a spay. In any case, yes this dog needs to go back to the vet.
    – Harry V.
    Jul 22, 2018 at 18:12

Based on the image provided, this is not the normal healing process. It looks as though your dog has been licking excessively at the incision and flank, or has been too active after the surgery. However it is hard to tell exactly what is going on just based on a photo.

The sutures themselves take weeks to months to dissolve, depending on the suture type. It takes 1-2 weeks for the skin and the body wall to heal to a point where the sutures are no longer needed. Absorbable sutures should all be subcutanous (under the skin), so you should not be able to see them. If you can see them, that is a problem.

She needs to see a vet as soon as possible.

In some severe cases where the incision has become infected, she might need to go back to surgery to debride infected tissue and re-close the skin. At minimum she will likely need antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.

In the meantime, if you are not able to take her to a vet right away:

  • Keep her rested, no rough play, only very short walks to toilet
  • Put an e-collar on her to stop her from licking at the incision. If you do not have one, you can use an old t-shirt on her to try to prevent her from getting at the incision.

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